Close-ups with compact digital cameras
Canon compact digital cameras have a ‘macro’ or ‘super macro’ mode. This is usually activated by pressing the button that shows the icon of a small flower or selecting macro focusing from the menu. Macro modes change the focusing range of the lens. On the PowerShot G11, for example, the normal focusing range at the widest focal length is from 50cm to infinity. In macro mode this changes to a range from 1cm to 50cm. Two ranges are used to avoid the lens searching across the full range and focusing is much faster when the range is limited in this way.
Some compact cameras also offer a ‘digital’ macro mode. Here, the camera digitally enlarges the centre of the image to create a close-up.
If the camera offers the choice of an eye-level optical viewfinder and a real-time view of the subject on the LCD monitor, use the monitor. This will avoid parallax problems with the eye-level viewfinder. The monitor shows the image created by the camera lens, whereas the viewfinder shows an image produced by a separate lens. At normal distance the two images are similar, but at close distances the two lenses show very different views.